Financial Topics & Tips
What's with All the Spam? How You Can Limit the Amount You Receive?
Anti-malware companies estimate that anywhere from 50-70% of all email being sent around is spam. Spam is the electronic version of “junk mail.” Like the physical mail, most of it just goes in the trash, but if it’s catchy enough, you might open it to see what is on offer. If it comes in an envelope, the chances of it being dangerous are very low. However, if it comes in an email, the chances of it doing damage are much greater.
In the second quarter of 2015 alone, according to SecureList, the anti-phishing mechanisms in Kaspersky Lab’s anti-malware software product were triggered nearly 31 million times. Spam is sent out in mass mailings on a regular basis. Those who send it out collect addresses in various ways including by hacking into companies, buying them from data collectors, or phishing for them on websites.
Their goals vary, but most of the time it is one of three:
• Spread online banking malware and empty accounts
• Steal user name & password information to take over accounts
• Spread ransomware to hold computers or phones hostage
Tips to reduce spam:
1 - Consider creating a “junk” email address. Use this whenever you sign up for newsletters, enter sweepstakes or raffles at the mall, or apply for accounts online. If it gets sold, the subsequent spam will get filtered to that account and won’t distract you when reading your real email.
2 - Keep your private address private. Don’t post it online freely. If you must, try masking it or adding it as a graphic so it cannot be clicked.
3 - Don’t respond to spam messages. This includes not unsubscribing. Often spammers will send fake unsubscribe messages so that people will enter legitimate addresses that they can spam more or sell.
4 - Keep your browsers updated with the latest patches. Remember that you need to do this separately for each browser you use. Some update automatically and others don’t, so look at yours and act accordingly.
5 - Make sure anti-malware software is installed on your devices, including mobile ones. Many of these software programs have anti-spam features. Keep it updated with the latest patches and files. Most have an auto-update feature and it’s recommended you keep that activated.
6 - Many email clients these days have anti-spam functionality. Take advantage of that so that overall spam will be better filtered in the future.
Remember that spam is not limited to email these days. It can be found coming in via text messages and is abundant on social media. If you receive it on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as other sites, check their websites to find out how to report it. They don’t want it coming across via their websites any more than we want to receive it.
Please visit the TTCU Member Security Center for timely articles, information on online safety and how to protect your personal information. Learn about the latest fraud trends, and read breaking news in the world of security that may affect you.
December 2, 2015 - © Copyright 2015 Stickley on Security – reprinted with permission.